Baku, October 28, AZERTAC
Azerrail Baku started their journey in the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women with a 3:0 victory (25-18, 25-23, 25-18) over Germany’s rookies Allianz MTV Stuttgart to open proceedings in Pool A on Wednesday.
The bronze medallists from last year’s Azeri Super League got three full points from their home match with one of the teams that are making this season their debut in Europe’s finest league.
The first set was not an easy run for the home team. Allianz MTV Stuttgart started the match playing very aggressive and so the game quickly turned into a challenge for Azerrail. By virtue of their block Stuttgart edged ahead at the first technical time-out (8:5) but Azerrail got back on track and eventually took command of the operations. As their team captain Odina Bayramova scored a few points, Azerrail changed gear making it 21:17, eventually finishing the set at 25-18.
Azerrail continued with their solid performance also in the second set where Bayramova, Haley Eckerman, Strashimira Filipova, Madison Kingdon, Nootsara Tomkom and Valeriya Mammadova did a good job making it 7:3 first and 20:14 after the second technical time-out. Though it looked like the game was fully under control of Azerrail, the Germans fought their way back and cut their deficit to one point at 23:24. However, Azerrail did not lose composure and closed it out at 25-23 by finishing the next rally.
The third set therefore turned into a last call for Allianz MTV Stuttgart. The visitors from Germany understood it very well and opened proceedings with a 7:3 run. They stretched their lead up to six points at 11:5 but after that Azerrail stormed back. Their mentor Bulent Karslioglu decided to give some playing time to Senegalese Fatou Diouck and together with Thai setter Nootsara Tomkom she turned the tide and Azerrail ultimately brought the match to a happy end for the home fans in three straight sets (25-18).
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